The Indian Army testing M982 Excalibur
“The Ministry of Defense of India has decided to purchase M982 Excalibur artillery shells from the US under urgent procurement procedures,” The Indian newspaper quoted an Indian government source as saying.
The Indian Army will receive Excalibur Increment IB tactical projectiles with the American designation M982AI. The M982 Excalibur (previously XM982) is a 155 mm extended range guided artillery shell manufactured by prime contractor Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems AB. It is a GPS and inertial-guided munition capable of being used in close support situations within 75–150 meters (250–490 ft) of friendly troops or in situations where targets might be prohibitively close to civilians to attack with conventional unguided artillery fire.
Things have gone smoothly during the negotiations and soon Indian artillery will be equipped with the M982 Excalibur, the M777 cannons capable of hitting targets with near absolute accuracy and with an unexpected range.
The great destructive power, especially the near-absolute accuracy, makes the US M982 Excalibur currently considered the most feared smart artillery shell in the world.
The special thing about the successful M982 Excalibur version is that they are guided by either GPS or laser guidance systems, so their accuracy is almost absolute.
Raytheon’s M982 Excalibur precision-guided artillery commercial development director said: “This high-tech munition can create the ability to provide all-weather battlefield firepower for ground commanders. because they are very flexible, highly responsive and precise”.
In many cases this smart artillery can replace the close-range fire support of the air force, navy and especially the cost is much cheaper.
According to statistics, 770 shells of 155mm M982 Excalibur shells were used in the wars in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and also Syria, the actual combat results were better than expected. The M982 Excalibur shell hit targets with a deflection radius of only about 1m.
The US’s launch of the M982 Excalibur artillery shell shows a long step forward in technology compared to the two military powers Russia and China.
The M982 Excalibur is the most modern and intelligent artillery shell today, which can hit targets outside the range of normal shells, achieving extremely high accuracy, with great destructive power. With flexible navigation wings, the M982 Ezcalibur shell can quickly change its trajectory as soon as it is fired from the barrel.
The range of this artillery shell is up to 57km, which is farther than any artillery shell, including Russia’s 2K25 Krasnopol M smart artillery shell, which has a range of only 40km.
Indian army M-777 howitzers during testing
This is also the world’s first smart artillery shell that is programmed to explode right above the target or penetrate the ground to hit an underground target.
M982 Excalibur has a weight of 48kg, a length of 99.6cm, uses a PBXN-9 type detonator, a self-guided system combining GPS and INS (inertial positioning).
Compared with the Russian laser-guided 2K25 Krasnopol-M smart artillery shell, the American shell has a much greater advantage. To hit the target, Russian shells require a source of laser irradiation continuously at the position to be hit, usually by aircraft or special units.
This inadvertently adds complexity to the battles. The Russian type also does not have a warhead that is timed to explode. Meanwhile, US artillery shells only need to load parameters for the bullet just before firing, then the GPS global navigation system will guide the shell to hit the target.
The order for the M982 Excalibur rounds was fast-tracked under the emergency powers to the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff at IA HQ, the contract began June 2021 with an estimated completion date of February 22, 2023.
The standard M982 Excalibur is an extended-range guided projectile that uses a combination of a high-glide ratio lifting-body airframe and tightly coupled GPS/MEMS-based inertial measuring unit (GPS/IMU) guidance (developed by Honeywell) to achieve ranges of up to 40km from existing 155mm/39-cal howitzers, with a circular error probable (CEP) of less than 2 metres. Excalibur is fully qualified in multiple artillery systems, including the K-9 Vajra and M-777 howitzers.